Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson unveils 5-year vision

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Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson unveils her five-year vision for the district Tuesday morning at Bronzeville Classical School. | Mitchell Armentrout/Sun-Times

Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson on Tuesday laid out an ambitious long-term strategic road map for the district, with an emphasis on “academic progress, financial stability and integrity.”

Presenting the five-year vision to teachers and administrators at Bronzeville Classical Elementary School, Jackson outlined a series of goals for the district to reach by 2024, including:

• having 90 percent of CPS students graduate within five years, with 60 percent leaving with an early college or career credential;

• having 70 percent of students meet or exceed national averages on standardized reading and math tests; and

• increasing the number of kindergarteners meeting readiness benchmarks by 50 percent.

Jackson said CPS will aim for a 1-to-1 student to digital device ratio while evaluating funding models “with an emphasis on supporting underserved populations.”

In the wake of last year’s revelation of district-wide mishandling of sex abuse allegations, Jackson also noted goals of increasing trust with families to ensure they “feel CPS is moving in the right direction,” and prioritizing “student safety and protection above all else.”

The roadmap laid out by Rahm Emanuel’s education chief comes as the outgoing mayor looks to polish his mark on a district that has seen record gains in high school graduation rates during a tenure that started with Emanuel notoriously shuttering 50 schools.

In recent days, city and CPS leaders have highlighted increased investments in STEM and International Baccalaureate programs, an expansion of free preschool options and the on-time release of more equitable school budgets.

Jackson unveiled the long-term plan despite her own future at the helm of the district remaining somewhat tenuous a week ahead of Chicago’s runoff mayoral election.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle has committed to retaining Jackson if elected. Polling frontrunner Lori Lightfoot has said she’ll make that decision in office if she gets there, though she’s acknowledged more turnover wouldn’t be ideal in a district that has seen eight CEOs cycle through headquarters over the last decade.

Jackson, a CPS graduate who worked her way up as a city teacher and principal, has enjoyed broad support from city officials and rank-and-file educators alike since taking over the district at the end of 2017.

Read CPS’ full five-year vision:

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